You can always rely on McDonald’s to have burgers, fries and chicken (Mc)nuggets, but a little bit of Bach and the Beatles?
At 160 Broadway (between Maiden Lane and Liberty Street) stands a flag-ship McDonald’s that opened in 1988 and has had the melodic sounds of different talented pianists playing daily ever since. “Being so close to the Stock Exchange and the World Trade Center, we felt this would be a great location to do something different,” said owner Paul Goodman.
Different it is – being the only McDonald’s in the world to have pianists playing on a full-time schedule. Their performance space is equipped with a Howard Baby Grand Piano and located in a small loft area overlooking the entrance. “We currently have three pianists, and they play seven days a week. Each pianist has their own unique style – playing a combination of original music and well known covers.”
With Lower Manhattan’s diverse mix of customers – from office employees and construction workers to tourists and students – you’re sure to get a diverse mix of reactions. “Some customers are confused, some shocked and some barely notice,” explains Goodman, “but the reactions in general are usually great. The best is when they ask to play themselves.”
Last year, New York Cares moved their main offices from Chelsea to Lower Manhattan – allowing us to get up-close and personal with Executive Director, Gary Bagley, and find out what he thinks of the new neighborhood.
New York Cares, the city’s largest volunteer organization, recently moved its main offices to Broadway in Lower Manhattan. Why did you move?
There has been a greater demand for our services and that means that more volunteers require orientation and more community partners seek training on how to work with volunteers. We needed a space more conducive to meeting those demands.
What attracted your organization to Lower Manhattan?
Lower Manhattan provides a flexible and accessible location from which we can easily mobilize volunteers, program managers, and resources throughout the five boroughs.
The Downtown Alliance is always thrilled when people volunteer at our events. What’s your philosophy about volunteerism?
Volunteering is more than something nice to do. It is necessary for the well-being of our City. Volunteers bridge the gaps between what is and what should be. Beyond that, making a difference is something everyone can do.
You run the annual New York Cares Coat Drive. How many coats do you collect each year?
Last year, we collected 77,000 coats, and, in the 24 years we’ve been doing the Coat Drive, we’ve collected over 1.4 million. Despite these numbers, we still are not able to meet all the requests for coats we get each year, so make sure to donate this year at any New York City Police precinct, Penn Station, Grand Central, or any of our many drop-off locations around the city.
In this economy, are you finding more donations or fewer and why?
Although New York Cares is far from immune to the many challenges posed by the current economic climate, we are confident about our fundraising goals and ever-grateful for the financial generosity of our corporate, foundation and individual donors without which our work simply would not be possible.
What has been your experience in Lower Manhattan so far?
Downtown has provided a fantastic hub for our operations and volunteers, a lively atmosphere, and spectacular views. We love the new environment.
A bouquet of flowers, a quick bite, a literary journal: These are the kinds of little things that make so much of a difference in today’s fast-paced world. Underground connections, soaring architecture, interactive signage and wayfinding: These are the hallmarks of a 21st century transportation network.
What do they have in common? Both are coming to Lower Manhattan in 2014 with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s long-awaited Fulton Center, which I believe will transform the transit passenger experience in Lower Manhattan.
Lower Manhattan’s past, present and future as an international capital of commerce depends on mass transit. This is as true today as it was a half century ago, when David Rockefeller founded the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association to maintain Lower Manhattan as a thriving central business district.
More than 50 years later, Lower Manhattan is home to 312,000 employees, 8,540 firms (the most in a decade), 60,000 residents and 11.5 million visitors from across the globe. In fact, in just the last eight years, 391 companies have relocated here. Many Lower Manhattan businesses say that access to mass transit is the reason they started, stayed or relocated here, and for good reason: 90 percent of Lower Manhattan employees take public transportation to work. This should come as no surprise because, as the recent Downtown Alliance “Brain Gain” report revealed, the 30-county New York metro region has experienced a profound population shift in the past ten years, as high-value knowledge workers are opting out of a suburban lifestyle in favor of urban living and shorter commutes via subway, PATH, ferry, bike and foot, in communities that surround the Lower Manhattan business district.
It’s easy to see why. We have 12 subway lines, 30 bus routes, the PATH to New Jersey, six ferry landings and extensive bike paths in Lower Manhattan. That means more time at home, more time at work, and less time commuting.
What we don’t have is an architecturally significant, 21st century transit station which acknowledges that Lower Manhattan is at the center of a regional, multi-modal transportation network, our own “Grand Central.” Fulton Center will change that, with an iconic structure filled with retail above ground, and an underground connector linking Lower Manhattan east to west. Given what’s in store for shopping and dining at the South Street Seaport, the World Trade Center and Brookfield Place in Battery Park City, it will be an important and exciting new way to traverse Lower Manhattan’s walkable one-square mile.
With exterior construction almost complete, it’s hard to believe that the future of Fulton Center was once uncertain. But the Downtown Alliance joined forces with local elected officials, business leaders and community activists to get the project back on track. And here’s why: Fulton Center will be transformative for businesses, residents and visitors alike. It will be a gateway to the fourth largest central business district in the United States, a new place for shopping and dining and a meeting place for more than 300,000 transit riders a day.
Looking forward requires a glance back too. A decade ago, many said that Lower Manhattan would never recover from the attacks of September 11.They were wrong, big time. Thirty- billion dollars of public and private reinvestment has brought the newest, greenest, highest tech office space in the region; triple the number of hotels; more than double the residents and close to 400 new firms to Lower Manhattan. That’s progress!
New Yorkers love train stations. We mourn Penn Station, venerate Grand Central and now, let’s celebrate Fulton Center!
Liz Berger is the President of the Downtown Alliance.
Known for designing exquisite engagement rings and selling antique jewelry, DeNatale Jewelers has been supplying a wide range of jewelry and watches mixed with impeccable, personal service to Lower Manhattan customers for many years.
In 1897, Biagio DeNatale, an accomplished engraver and watchmaker, sailed with his family from Italy to America. His dream was to establish a family business that reflected his core conviction: quality combined with integrity. Within a year, Biagio opened his first jewelry store in New York City’s Little Italy, where he introduced his children to the trade. In 1908, Biagio’s two eldest sons, Joseph and William, saw the potential of a Wall Street location and opened The DeNatale Jewelry Company there. Several years later, their younger brothers, Peter and Blase, opened DeNatale Brothers on Maiden Lane and Broadway.
Passionate about his work and proud to provide fine jewelry design, Peter was frequently asked to create items not only for his clientele, but rings and crosses for the clergy of the New York Catholic Diocese as well. Peter’s reputation grew, and soon he was designing for clients around the country whose enduring loyalties are testament to Biagio’s founding principles. In 1954, with the assistance of his sons, Peter founded Peter DeNatale Inc., which was located at 170 Broadway for over 50 years.
Today, Robert, John, and Jim DeNatale, along with their courteous staff, are situated in the lobby of the famous landmark Trinity Building at 111 Broadway. The beautiful showroom has eighteen foot ceilings with large glass windows topped with historic stained glass that provide abundant light and unique views of Trinity Church.
Upholding a legacy of trust and service, the brothers are committed to merging up-to-date methods with good old-fashioned values. Their dedicated customer care provides a unique customer experience to all, the DeNatale way.
Emma Duch is a new resident in New York City after relocating from England. She works part time for DeNatale Jewelers on social media and PR, and love’s trying on all the amazing jewels that come into the showroom. Every girls dream!
Artion is a family-owned gallery that started in Greece, and over the last 25 years, it has won a dominant role in American, European and Middle Eastern markets.
On December 6th, Artion Gallery opened its New York headquarters at 275 Water Street, the first art gallery to open in the South Street Seaport and yet another sign of the resilience of Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Gallery owner Konstantino Manolakis is proud to feature Colombian photographer Carmen Molina’s “Undercurrents”, a deeply personal series of self-portraits motivated by a dark period in Molina’s life and her liberation from it. In transferring her emotions onto paper, they become clear, visible and in a sense tangible. This release allows her to return to a state of emptiness that allots space for healing and growth.
Molina created the exhibition’s 17 aesthetically beautiful pieces by using a technique she developed herself that she refers to as “photo layering”, in which she blends and transforms photographs of color, light, shape and texture to capture a reality her eye can’t see. The impactful effect communicates an intense self-examination.
“Undercurrents” is sponsored by the Colombian consulate and is raising funds for Caring for Colombia, the New York-based nonprofit that mobilizes resources to support vulnerable populations through art, health and education programs in Colombia.
Kayla Baken is 24 years old working as a publicist in New York City. She graduated from Indiana University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. An art enthusiast at heart, she was extremely excited to work with Carmen Molina on her “Undercurrents” exhibition.
Liz Berger, Catherine McVay Hughes, and Borough President Scott Stringer visiting Seaport area businesses the Wednesday morning after the hurricane.
By Catherine McVay Hughes and Elizabeth H Berger
The last two weeks have proven again that the worst of Mother Nature cannot defeat Lower Manhattan.
We did not face this alone. New Yorkers from all corners of the city experienced flooding, loss of power and, in some areas, devastating damage and tragic loss of life.
The two of us have lived below Fulton Street a combined total of 50 plus years. We have seen the neighborhood grow and celebrate its architecture, winding streets, restaurants and shops, sweeping views, parks and, most important, the sense of community which makes Lower Manhattan a great place in which to live and work.
But, being surrounded by two rivers proved a challenge amid what weather forecasters deemed an unprecedented “perfect storm,” one that brought formidable tidal surges, flooding our subways and streets, basements and storefronts.
No one can deny the impact on Lower Manhattan. As the two of us walked the district this past week, we witnessed the signs of hope and resilience that are second nature here: neighbors pitching in to help each other, small-business owners cleaning and repairing shops, and, remarkably arranging volunteer efforts to help fellow New Yorkers more profoundly impacted by Sandy’s blows: pitching in to distribute FEMA food and water, picking up debris and sharing information. Neighbors lit stairwells with flashlights, pooled precious water and held impromptu potlucks.
From main thoroughfares to smaller cobblestoned streets, we saw evidence of hardship and hard work: small-business owners, professional crews, City workers, residents and volunteers pumping out water, sweeping streets, patching damaged windows. Our cultural institutions were off-limits to visitors, and stores were assessing damage and slowly reopening.
Every day, more stores and restaurants are reopening. We’ve seen Jacques Capsouto and the Poulakakos family — which owns many eateries in the Financial District and Battery Park City, including Financier, Harry’s Italian and Vintry – getting back to business, wine seller Marco Pasanella re-sheetrocking his South Street storefront shop, Lance Lappin and Merchants NY reaching out to customers, Drs. Bobby Buka in the Seaport and Michel Cohen in Tribeca sending alerts to patients, Trinity Church advising parishioners and other community members, owners and managing agents informing tenants, and countless other formal and informal communications.
Less visible was the effect on some office and residential buildings, particularly east of Water Street and on the western edge of Tribeca into Battery Park City, where in some locations there is significant impact. For our community’s children, Halloween was not the same and the soccer season has been cut short. The spirit of the day reflected exhaustion, but also optimism and cooperation.
In the coming weeks, Community Board 1 and the Downtown Alliance will be there to help, as we have since storm warnings first aired, working with community leaders, property owners, government officials and others to bring relief to our neighborhood.
We applaud our elected leaders: our President, Governor and Mayor, New York’s two Senators, Congressman Nadler and our own hometown team: Speaker Silver, Senator Squadron, Assembly Member Glick, Borough President Stringer and Council Member Chin. And, kudos to the Port Authority, MTA and Con Edison.
As this goes to press, most of Lower Manhattan has power, buses are on their routes, subway lines are up and running, dewatering is coming to a close and repairs are well underway. The next step is to help our small businesses and others recover from unanticipated losses and delays, especially on the eve of the critical holiday shopping season. It’s time to dine and shop locally to support neighborhood stores and restaurants.
We must keep the momentum that has made Lower Manhattan the place to be for businesses, start-ups, residents and visitors. All of us share a vision for Lower Manhattan that far exceeds Sandy’s temporary setbacks.
Whatever is thrown at us, we have prevailed. We look forward to a Lower Manhattan that will be stronger and better than ever.
Berger is President of the Alliance for Downtown New York. McVay Hughes is Chairperson of Community Board 1.
In Susan Henshaw Jones’ words, Hurricane Sandy dealt the South Street Seaport Museum a “body blow.” The entire Seaport area was flooded and many shops, restaurants and attractions have had to temporarily close. Henshaw Jones has now issued a financial plea this week to defray the costs incurred by storm damage.
“It is not just that there was five feet of filthy, oil-laced surge in our lobby, wiping out the systems that run the escalator, the elevators, and the heating and air-conditioning, it is not just the clean-up: it is the loss of revenue that we had been building so diligently,” Henshaw Jones said in her email.
The Museum may be down, but it’s not out. And it was spared severe damage. The Seaport Museum encountered five feet of flooding on its first floor, where the lobby, ticket sales stand, a food cart and gift shop were located; the museum is preparing to open once power is restored and electrical damage can be repaired.
Additionally, the Museum’s seven vessels docked at the Seaport suffered no damage – thanks to staff and volunteers.
“At the South Street Seaport Museum, all the vessels rode out the hurricane Sandy and the surge with very little difficulty, thanks to the days of preparation and a right on-the-money calculation about the amount of slack needed for the lines securing the Peking, the Wavertree, and the Ambrose to Pier 15 and Pier 16,” said Henshaw Jones said. “The vessels sustained little to no damage. The power of the surge, though, is reflected in huge fenders’ transit during the storm: shooting upward and landing on Pier 16.”
Henshaw Jones credited Waterfront Director and Captain Jonathan Boulware and his crew and the many volunteers who worked non-stop– logging about 350 man-hours – to add and adjust and balance the lines to secure the vessels.
Dedicated South Street Seaport Museum staff members remained at the Museum for two days during Hurricane Sandy, watching the ships and the surge from a high window at the Museum while preparations for the storm were carried out in the days prior.
However, the South Street Seaport district did suffer severe flooding and damage. Bowne & Co., which is located in buildings owned by the South Street Seaport Museum along Water Street, and its collections of letterpresses and type were affected by two and a half feet of floodwater.
Over the last week and a half, staff members and dozens of volunteers – new and old – have been cleaning up the space and drying off historic letterpresses and drawers of historic 19th century, wood and lead type, under the direction of Robert Warner, Ali Osborn and Gideon Finck.
Bowne & Co. Stationers, located in buildings owned by the Seaport Museum along Water Street, was poised to spin off Bowne & Co., Printers this month. But the storm has delayed that opening. Bowne & Co., Stationers is an historic print shop that has been in operation since the early 1970s, and over the years historic type has been collected and amassed, along with letterpresses and a host of letterpress miscellany.
The collections of letterpresses and type, including 38 larger wood type and 175 lead type, were soaked by two-and-a-half feet of floodwater. Since the storm, Museum staff and volunteers have made progress to restore the collections and worked through the weekend. Volunteers laid out sheets of paper, assembling wood type on top to let them dry for two days. Type was then rubbed with isopropyl alcohol to remove salt deposits, and placed in dry paper-lined cases. Each drawer of lead type, meanwhile, was submerged in freshwater and then mineral water, and once dry was placed in a case.
Preservation of the collection has been a priority during the clean-up process. Contrary to media reports, none of the historic presses and fonts were discarded.
Volunteers and donations are appreciated. Volunteers are welcome seven days a week and are encouraged to arrive at 12 Fulton Street. Please email Franny Kent at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer vacation is over with a sigh, and students of all ages are back to the books in Lower Manhattan. As the fall semester begins, more than 53,000 students— from toddlers just starting out to adults resuming their studies—have returned to classes in schools all over the district.
The under-18 crowd is growing in Lower Manhattan. In a 2010 Downtown Alliance survey, 76 percent of households with children said the quality of neighborhood schools was a key factor in their decision to live here. South of Chambers Street alone, there are 8,200 pupils in nine preschools, eight elementary and middle schools, and six high schools. For kindergarteners through fifth graders, not only are there the well-regarded PS 89, PS 276,PS 397 and PS 234—my children’s alma mater—but other options as well, including the Blue School and Léman Manhattan Preparatory School.
There’s more on the horizon. Next year, the Lower Manhattan branch of the Mandell School will open on Broad Street. And, it’s back to future for the long-awaited Peck Slip public elementary school, scheduled to open in 2015 only a few blocks from the city’s first public school: New York Free School No. 1 opened in 1806, with 42 pupils packed into a tiny apartment on Bancker Street (now Madison Street) near Pearl. We’ve come a long way.
A significant story is that Lower Manhattan has become a college town. Pace University, NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and the Borough of Manhattan Community College alone enroll more than 40,000 students here. Pace has three dorms—housing 1,200 students— and is building two more, on Broadway and on Beekman Street, to house another 1,200. The university also has plans for an undergraduate performing arts center with a first-floor theater, open to the community for special performances, on William Street.
All told, there are 10 colleges and universities represented below Chambers Street. This academic year marks an especially big milestone for BMCC, which launched the current semester with the reopening of Fiterman Hall, 11 years after the destruction of the original building in the attacks on the World Trade Center. With 80 classrooms, state-of-the-art conference space, a cafe and street-level art gallery, the new 15-story Fiterman Hall, designed by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, is a symbol of our community’s dramatic resurgence.
I grew up in New York City, and attended PS 40 in the 1960s; famous graduates include David Axelrod and Tribeca’s own Drew Nieporent. Back in the day, kindergarten was all play and learning to sit still. Reading wasn’t taught until first grade, starting with Dick and Jane—yes! really!—and, at our school, quickly progressing to Bank Street readers. To this day, I remember the first sentence I mastered: “People live in communities.” As I think you know, it is a phrase that has stuck with me for all of my life.
Summer in New York City means it’s time to eat al fresco – and Lower Manhattan has no shortage of restaurants to fit the bill.
Here you can enjoy all types of cuisine in all different types of surroundings. Lower Manhattan boasts water views along its esplanades, park views, and cobblestone street scenery that is both enjoyable and unique.
So step outside and enjoy a bite at some of Lower Manhattan’s full-service, outdoor tables before the summer ends! A delicious sampling includes:
For more information on restaurants in Lower Manhattan, visit the Alliance for Downtown New York at www.DowntownNY.com. You can check out an interactive map with details on hours, locations and services and search the events calendar. Or, stay connected through the Downtown Alliance iPhone app, available for download on the website.
Corning Museum glassmaker Eric Meek makes a design by Arik Levy at GlassLab. Photo by Corning Museum of Glass.
By Kelly Rush
On a sweltering day on the cusp of July, several men dressed in all black stood in front of furnaces hot enough to melt glass. Literally. The team had come together for a demonstration on Governors Island to kick off the Corning Museum of Glass’ GlassLab design program, which will be on the island through the end of July.
Designers from the New York region—including Georgie Stout, Inna Alesina and Q Cassetti—will work with Corning Museum glassmakers in a series of free, public, glass-design performances on an island that has become known as New York City’s cultural backyard.
Designers will bring their sketchbooks and ideas and join glassmakers in the GlassLab’s mobile hot shop next to Pershing Hall weekends through July 29. The teams will prototype their ideas in live sessions, allowing audiences to get a peek at an unusual process that demands coordination, teamwork and creativity while glassmakers handle an extremely hot material in a small, enclosed space.
The kickoff demonstration, held Friday at the hot shop, featured several furnaces in which glass was melted and then formed into the shape of a buoy at the direction of graphic designer Peter Buchanan-Smith. The glassmakers melted and shaped the glass in a delicate method where one slip could shatter the glass—or burn a hand. The buoy-in-progress was heated in a furnace and then pulled out and shaped by a glassmaker holding wet newspaper.
Carol White, executive director of the Corning Museum, said the museum has worked with 50 designers, including Yves Behar, Constantin and Laurene Boym, Stephen Burks, and the Campana Brothers, since starting the hot shops five years ago.
She said the museum’s mission is to tell the world about glass, and the setting on Governors Island is the perfect venue by which to introduce more designers to working with glass as a medium.